White House thinks Crimea sanctions should stay until Russia returns it

The Obama administration loaded several rounds of economic sanctions onto Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, starting in 2014, in an attempt to pressure the former superpower first into renouncing its claim on Crimea and then later expanded to prompt Moscow to end its support of the rebel forces in the country’s east. President Trump has repeatedly said that he’d be open to dropping the sanctions on Russia, though he has yet to clarify precisely what would trigger their being revoked. At one point, he implied that — rather than pulling out of Ukraine — he’d be willing to waive the sanctions in exchange for Russia taking action to reduce its nuclear arsenal.

Four days after the fighting began, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley used her first speech before the UN Security Council to condemn Russia for its actions.

“I consider it unfortunate that the occasion of my first appearance here is one in which I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia,” Haley said. “It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States Representatives have needed to do that. It should not have to be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”